HP’s Latest SaaS Channel Partner Move
Hewlett-Packard and Cast Iron Systems are partnering on so-called cloud integration services for small and midsize businesses. The strategy aims to promote HP’s hardware, and includes the company’s 25,000 VARs across the United States. Still, HP needs to connect the dots between SaaS and managed services for channel partners. Here are some quick observations.
First, a little background on Cast Iron. The company positions itself as a SaaS (software as a service) and cloud integration company. Founded in 2001, the company claims its offerings enable customers to
“integrate cloud-based and SaaS applications with the rest of the enterprise in just days. Backed by Sequoia Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and Lehman Brothers, Cast Iron is privately held and led by experienced technology executives from Oracle, Accenture, PeopleSoft, Vitria and Siebel.
Hmmm. The VAR Guy is intrigued.
Now, for the HP component. Together, Cast Iron and HP say they have developed a marketing and sales program for HP channel partners.
- All on-premise deployments sourced through this agreement will run on HP servers sold by HP channel partners.
- Cast Iron will recommend HP infrastructure for all third-party data centers that are operated on behalf of Cast Iron to service customers resulting from this agreement.
HP is quick to note that
“This collaboration extends HP’s ongoing expansion within the cloud-services market and builds on its 2008 agreements with NetSuite and Microsoft to enable HP channel partners to deliver cloud services to customers. The Cast Iron solution enables HP channel partners to deliver cloud-services integration to the NetSuite and Microsoft offerings as well.”
SaaS vs. Managed Services
Some quick thoughts from The VAR Guy: HP is smart to connect the dots between previous cloud announcements (NetSuite, Microsoft) and the new Cast Iron deal. Most technology companies fail to provide that ongoing context, which means channel partners and The VAR Guy himself miss the bigger picture.
In this case, the bigger picture is clear: HP is experimenting with a range of cloud options for its channel partners. Will all succeed? The VAR Guy doubts it. Will some succeed? The VAR Guy sure thinks so. But it’s too soon to predict the hits and misses.
Meanwhile, HP needs to do a better job connecting the dots between cloud services and managed services. Dell is pushing deeper into the managed services market with Silverback, Everdream and other technologies that allow Dell (and its channel partners) to remotely manage and troubleshoot customer networks. Plus, Lenovo is preparing a managed services strategy for VARs serving small and midsize businesses.
HP provided some clues about its managed services strategy in March 2009. The VAR Guy — and channel partners — need to hear more.